Personal viewpoints

  1. Just wondering what you do when a patient asks for your opinion on something, especially things that tend to be very personal and sometimes controversial. Examples would be if they ask you if you think that circumcision should be done? or about vaccinations? or even parenting methods like Ferberizing(crying it out), BabyWise(book), etc?

    I am in my preceptorship in postpartum and I have had this come up and not sure what is the right thing to do. Especially since I have very strong views on the subjects myself? I tried to give both sides of the coin, but wonder if it is ever okay to voice an opinion when asked.

    Thanks!
    •  
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing mom
    here
    also:-)
    July2001

    The/rest/will/have/to/wait/for/a/fixed/keyboard.............

    steph
  4. by   jkaee
    Quote from stevielynn
    Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing mom
    here
    also:-)
    July2001

    The/rest/will/have/to/wait/for/a/fixed/keyboard.............

    steph

    Hooray for us quirky moms that (gasp!) BF, sleep snuggled with our kids, and can't stand the thought of our kids crying in a dark room without us there to comfort them!! I've gotten a lot of grief over some of the things I've chosen to do or not do with my kids, but I think that my kids are happier and self confident because I did them my way (NOT saying that if one does things differently that their kids will be a neurotic mess.....!)
    To the OP, I think if a patient is asking you for an opinion, they are still in the process of trying to make an infomed decision, so the best thing to do is to find out how they feel about a certain "method" and go from there....."How do you feel about letting your baby cry it out.....do you think it's something you can do.......would you think of yourself as a "failure" if you couldn't let your child cry it out....." etc. So many parents today are reading books on how they are "supposed" to raise their kids, rather than following thier own hearts or gut reactions.....they think that baby should be doing X,Y,Z by this or that time, and this is how you get it to happen, rather than just relaxing and enjoying babyhood. Some of my most wonderful memories are with my youngest, snuggling in bed on a cold winter morning laying face to face while I was nursing her......she'd break away to smile at me and then get right back down to business. I can't wait to do that again with the baby I'm expecting now!
    So, anyway, I keep going off topic, but if I was in that situation, I'd try to find out what their questions were, and what doubts they were having, and I'd only give my opinion or tell them what I did with my children ONLY if they asked me specifically for that information......and then clarify that that was what I chose to do, and there is not a RIGHT or WRONG way, just different ways for different parenting styles. But if they were just asking questions, I would not just out and give my opinion on such "controversial" subjects. I'd just try and help them make an informed decision that felt right to them.

    Steph, hope you get your keyboard fixed soon!


    Jennifer
  5. by   fergus51
    I just try to give them both sides of the story. "Some parents find.... others think..... You and your baby are individuals and you'll have to be flexible and find what works for you....". I think it's ok to say what worked for you as long as you STRONGLY emphasize that your word isn't the final word on the subject. There is nothing worse than coming on shift in pp after a pushy nurse has left her patients feeling like they HAVE to do things a certain way!
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Tread carefully where "opinions" are concerned when you are asked for yours. It's easy to make new moms feel guilty if their choices/beliefs do not coincide with those of their care providers, and THIS we want to avoid.I do what fergus does. It goes both ways,you know. Some of us don't cosleep into elementary years. Some do. Some circumcise due to preference. Others see it as barbaric and unnecessary for cosmetics.

    Personally, I don't find moms who cosleep, breastfeed more than a year, refuse to circumcise and use certain medications "quirky". I myself have differering views. But I am well aware, NOT EVERYONE sees parenting the same way I do. There is no "right" way in all situations.

    As to what I do, well, I am one to recommend wonderful resources/classes and books to look into and am very supportive of all viewpoints unless blatantly abusive (which are rare). I often tell parents to follow their hearts and instincts regarding issues such as breastfeeding, cosleeping, and circumcision. I do educate them about vaccinations and why we recommend them. However, I do NOT tell them what I personally do--- but present differing sides of the issue to them and let THEM decide.

    It's our responsiblity to support our patients wherever possible, even IF our viewpoints are strong and set. NOT forcing our values/beliefs is one of those responsibilities, as you know.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on May 4, '04
  7. by   breastfeedingRN
    thanks for all the thoughts and ideas. i would definitely never push my ideas on someone else, as i HATE when other's try to push their ideas on me. i totally support my formula feeding moms, etc, even though i am passionate about breastfeeding. i do try to emphasize how important it is to always hold your baby when bottle feeding though, and also holding baby skin to skin while bottle feeding. i would also never try to convince someone who plans to have their baby circumcized not to. i am very supportive of ALL my patient's as long as what they are doing is not unsafe.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Even as an ER RN - I'm often asked for my opinion. I always stay scrupulously neutral. I recommend books and websites with varying opinions and refer them to experts. I also preface things with: "what's right for one child isn't always right for another child".
  9. by   mitchsmom
    I am not even a nurse yet, but these things come up a lot in my role as a breastfeeding counselor. I like the response by SmilingBlueEyes:

    I often tell parents to follow their hearts and instincts regarding issues such as breastfeeding, cosleeping, and circumcision.
    I use that a lot, and also I use evidenced-based material/research and appropriate policy statements (AAP, etc.). I often preface sentences with "many mothers find..." or "research has found that..." Basically, I try to provide them with information so that they can make their own informed decision.

    I'm not always good at it but I try to stay away from my personal experience and advice. It's sort of a catch-22 to do this as exemplified in this excerpt:
    " we discuss the ways in which giving advice can damage the helping relationship. If the mother accepts the advice and is successful, she may come to be dependent on the Leader for all of her parenting decisions. If she accepts the advice and fails, she may reject the credibility of the Leader as well as that of LLL. If the mother does not follow the advice and succeeds, she may similarly conclude that the Leader really does not know much, and she will probably not come back for help in the future. If the mother rejects the advice and fails, she may either resent the Leader for seeming to prove her wrong, or she may become dependent on the Leader. Either way, the mother's self-confidence will likely be very low."
    The quote is from this link for La Leche League Leaders titled "Avoiding the Advice Trap", but it is applicable to your question and to nursing as well:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleade...gSep01p84.html
    Here's a another link that you may like, titled "Counseling Challenges: Helping Mothers Handle Conflicting Information":
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleade...rMay98p19.html
    You may also find more of interest at:
    www.geocities.com/breastfeedinglinks
    Last edit by mitchsmom on May 4, '04
  10. by   gwenith
    I have friends who refer to the "lactation consultants" and "the breastfeeding Nazis". These friends are not nurses but new mothers and that title is a sad reflection on and indictment of how some allow their personal beliefs to colour their professional conduct.

    When my own sister was having difficulty with breastfeeding the horror stories from her friends about lactation consultants kept her from seeking thier help.
  11. by   mitchsmom
    Quote from gwenith
    I have friends who refer to the "lactation consultants" and "the breastfeeding Nazis". These friends are not nurses but new mothers and that title is a sad reflection on and indictment of how some allow their personal beliefs to colour their professional conduct.

    When my own sister was having difficulty with breastfeeding the horror stories from her friends about lactation consultants kept her from seeking thier help.
    That's exactly why I try really hard not to come across that way. Most LC's that I have known have been pretty non-nazi-ish though - most of them have more than enough challenges with the people who really want and need help to worry about pressuring people who feel that bf isn't for them. For my part, I only help people who seek my help, I never ever solicit my role to anyone who isn't asking for it. (I will write bf info on forums like this, however, since it is a conversational/informational setting and people are usually seeking information and occasionally find it helpful Anyhow, I hope I didn't come across as one of those --->
    some allow their personal beliefs to colour their professional conduct
    and I'm sorry to hear your sister didn't seek help due to some bad experiences. There are good and bad seeds everywhere.
    Last edit by mitchsmom on May 4, '04
  12. by   fergus51
    I am surprised that breastfeeding Nazis is a term used in Australia too! It's commonplace in Canada.
  13. by   nekhismom
    Quote from fergus51
    I am surprised that breastfeeding Nazis is a term used in Australia too! It's commonplace in Canada.
    It's common around my way, too.
  14. by   imenid37
    We have the term breastfeeding nazis here in PA too! In talking to pt's I try not to give opinions. I tell pt's I am here for information, not to condemn them or tell them what to do (that's the mother-in-law's job!). I try to empower them and tell them it's your baby and because it is, you must decide. I do tell people that I can't condone things like smoking around the baby or refusing to use an infant carseat. As long as it's not harmful, I can accept that someone else's idea of what's appropriate differs from mine. Parents get too many opinions and too much advice from family and friends they really need (IMHO) someone who validates their ability to know what's best for their family.

close